Our Culture of Inclusion

Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. Belonging.

The Monell Chemical Senses Center stands with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and its 46 signatories on its letter of July 19, 2023 regarding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. We concur that diversity – in all its forms and definitions – is essential for the productivity, creativity, and overall strength of our organization and the entire STEMM workforce.

These are the guideposts on Monell’s journey of chemosensory discovery to transform world health.

At Monell, we believe that scientific discovery flourishes when we bring together diverse perspectives from the lab bench to the board room.

That means a multidisciplinary approach – bringing molecular biologists, chemists, psychologists and others together around questions of science. It also means including perspectives of colleagues from different backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences throughout the organization.

Diversity in Monell’s workforce is essential for the productivity, creativity, and overall strength of our organization – past, present, and future.

Monell has long been a leader among the global community of chemosensory science, collaborating with thousands of partners in academia and industry on five continents in the 50-plus years since our founding. Our Monell community – faculty, research associates, postdoctoral fellows, technical, and administrative staff – is richly diverse as well, hailing from 15 countries and representing a multitude of ethnic and cultural heritages.

We celebrate over five decades of diversity and inclusion in training the next generation of scientists and STEM professionals through the long-standing Monell Science Apprenticeship Program (MSAP), a nationally recognized research internship program for high school and college undergraduate students from groups typically underrepresented in the sciences.

Yet, the journey toward greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in science never ends, and Monell continues to make strides towards this goal.

With renewed focus, we have embedded these pillars in the institution’s strategic plan and in all aspects of our work. The foundation is the establishment of a formal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Advisory Council to conceptualize, lead, and oversee Monell’s DEIB strategic planning initiatives and programming. The Council represents individuals at all levels of the organization who are committed to addressing the evolving needs of our workforce, advocating for their colleagues, and championing DEIB across Monell.

In our continuing efforts to diversify Monell’s workforce, we are prioritizing equitable and inclusive recruitment and hiring and reaching out to more diverse communities. Dedicated as well to the larger STEM workforce, we are actively recruiting in underserved communities for MSAP applicants.

We have dedicated resources, both financial and human, to ensure that everyone at Monell has the tools and understanding needed to be sensitive to and respectful of differences in perspectives, background, and culture. From journal clubs and weekly afternoon coffee get-togethers to monthly all-employee town hall meetings and focused training events, we are growing our collective ability to interact across cultural divides and create a community where all voices are heard and valued.

These are just a few of the DEIB initiatives underway at Monell. Visit the links below for more.

Join us on our journey. Monell will be a shining example of a culture of inclusion recognized among the scientific and philanthropic communities here in Philadelphia and around the world.

Nancy E. Rawson, PhD
Executive Vice President & Chief Impact Officer

More About Our Initiatives

DEIB Advisory Council
The DEIB Advisory Council replaces the former Respectful Workplace Committee (RWC). The advisory council is the foundation and driving force behind Monell’s DEIB-related work. It operates with the support of Monell’s leadership, board of directors, and human resources personnel but has the autonomy to govern itself and control its affairs.

Additionally, the creation of the advisory council serves as one of the first steps taken to demonstrate Monell’s renewed and amplified commitment to the integration of DEIB into the fabric of the organization. As a result, the council strives to prioritize DEIB as an influential factor in all aspects of Monell’s operations, organizational practices, culture-building efforts, employee experiences, and approach to achieving its mission, vision, and goals as a scientific institution.

Monell Science Apprenticeship Program
To date, nearly 400 high school and undergraduate students over the last 40 years have spent a summer at Monell, earning a weekly salary and meeting the challenges of serious research responsibilities. The mission of this program is to stimulate an interest in science, particularly in groups typically underrepresented in this area, including females, ethnic or racial minorities, and the economically disadvantaged. Read more here.